Mail.app

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Mail.app
Platform: OS X
License: Commercial
Cost: $129 for Mac OS X, Mail.app included.
Download Size: NA
Site: Apple - Mail

[edit] Description

Mail.app is an alternative name for the email program that ships with Apple's Macintosh OS X. Apple merely calls it Mail. The .app comes from the suffix of the bundle.

Mail.app sees significant updates with every revision of OS X. For example, in Panther Apple added the ability to sort mail by thread, and Tiger brought Smart Mailboxes.

One of the advantages of Apple's Mail is its excellent support for the IMAP mail protocol. Choosing IMAP over POP is advisable for people who want to keep their email organized and synchronized across multiple computers.

[edit] Hacks

  • Keyboard shortcuts are your friends. For example, under the Mailbox menu, you'll find a "Go To" submenu with some handy shortcuts -- Cmd-1 (Apple-1) through Cmd-6 (Apple-6) take you to your Inbox, Outbox, Drafts, Sent, Trash, Junk mailboxes.
  • Another favorite is Cmd-Option-P, which switches to the Plain Text version of the email you're currently reading. Handy for the times when you get crazy HTML mail or stuff you can't seem to read. On this same front is this hint from MacOSXHints.com: Force Mail to display plain text by default, which is very handy as there isn't a Preference item for it.
  • Speaking of Preferences, under "Viewing" be sure to turn off "Display images and embedded objects in HTML messages" to save yourself a lot of time and spam-grief.
  • While you're in there, why not create Rules to shunt all your mailing lists and other subscriptions into their own folders automatically? That would be an example of good behaviors. :)
  • Perhaps one of the most versatile plugins for Mail is MailTags 2.0. Use MailTags to add keywords, projects, due dates, priorities and notes to messages. Then create Smart Mailboxes based on this data. Good for creating ticklers based on due dates. MailTags also integrates with iCal and several other GTD applications such as iGTD and Actiontastic. Tags can also be stored on IMAP servers for use with multiple machines and can be sent as headers in outgoing messages.
  • One of the spiffier enhancement utilities available for Mail.app is Mail.appetizer, which enables you to see what your incoming mail is without the distraction of switching to the program. Use it with Mail sounds turned off, so a quick glance to the minimally intrusive overlay lets you know if it's something you need to deal with immediately.
  • For those unafraid to enter into Applescript, Aaron Swartz has posted the outlines of a script (usable in OS X 10.3) that would permit single-key filing of messages as you read them. Very useful for GTD'ing one's email.
  • For those afraid of AppleScript, Indev has a tremendously useful and free plugin for Mail.app called Mail Act-on which allows you to associate keystrokes to special 'Act-On' rules. Configuring Act-On rules is as easy as configuring Mail's regular rules. The Mail Act-On site also has some tips for configuring your mail to GTD.
  • I set up a simple shell script to ask Mail (and NetNewsWire) for their current unread counts, then display it in a tiny GeekTool window. Details and screenshot here. Handy for Dock-hiders and plain text lovers. :)
  • Mail.appetizer is a plug-in which, the moment a new message is received, displays an onscreen notification window. (Tiger support still in beta)
  • Daylite Mail Integration is a plug-in which gives you tight multi-user email integration with Daylite. Combine Daylite Productivity Suite and any Mail Server and get functionality similar to MS Exchange.

[edit] See Also

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